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Online Issues

Veronin M. Packaging and Labeling of Pharmaceutical Products Obtained from the Internet. J Med Internet Res. 2011 Feb 15;13(1):e22.

Abstract BACKGROUND: For patients, the prescription container label may be the only source of instructions on how to take their medicines. In the United States, the legal requirements for a prescription label are set by federal law and state statutes. The container should be comparable to that which manufacturers use to package drug products and…


Liang BA.*, Mackey T. Searching for Safety: Addressing Search Engine, Website, and Provider Accountability for Illicit Online Drug Sales. Am J Law Med. 2009;35:125-184.

Online sales of pharmaceuticals are a rapidly growing phenomenon. Yet despite the dangers of purchasing drugs over the Internet, sales continue to escalate. These dangers include patient harm from fake or tainted drugs, lack of clinical oversight, and financial loss. Patients, and in particular vulnerable groups such as seniors and minorities, purchase drugs online either naïvely or because they lack the ability to access medications from other sources due to price considerations. Unfortunately, high risk online drug sources dominate the Internet, and virtually no accountability exists to ensure safety of purchased products.

Importantly, search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN, although purportedly requiring “verification” of Internet drug sellers using requirements, actually allow and profit from illicit drug sales from unverified websites. These search engines are not held accountable for facilitating clearly illegal activities. Both website drug seller anonymity and unethical physicians approving or writing prescriptions without seeing the patient contribute to rampant illegal online drug sales. Efforts in this country and around the world to stem the tide of these sales have had extremely limited effectiveness. Unfortunately, current congressional proposals are fractionated and do not address the key issues of demand by vulnerable patient populations, search engine accountability, and the ease with which financial transactions can be consummated to promote illegal online sales.

To deal with the social scourge of illicit online drug sales, this article proposes a comprehensive statutory solution that creates a nocost/low-cost national Drug Access Program to break the chain of demand from vulnerable patient populations and illicit online sellers, makes all Internet drug sales illegal unless the Internet pharmacy is licensed through a national Internet pharmacy licensing program, prohibits financial transactions for illegal online drug sales, and establishes criminal penalties for all parties—including websites, search engines, and health care providers— who engage in and facilitate this harmful activity.


Ivanitskaya L, Brookins-Fisher J, O Boyle I, Vibbert D, Erofeev D, Fulton L. Dirt cheap and without prescription: how susceptible are young US consumers to purchasing drugs from rogue internet pharmacies? J Med Internet Res. 2010;12(2):e11.

BACKGROUND: Websites of many rogue sellers of medications are accessible through links in email spam messages or via web search engines. This study examined how well students enrolled in a U.S. higher education institution could identify clearly unsafe pharmacies. OBJECTIVE: The aim is to estimate these health consumers vulnerability to fraud by illegitimate Internet pharmacies.…


Orizio G, Rubinelli S, Schulz PJ, Domenighini S, Bressanelli M, Caimi L, Gelatti U. “Save 30% if you buy today”. Online pharmacies and the enhancement of peripheral thinking in consumers. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2010;19(9): 970-6.

PURPOSE: Online pharmacies (OPs) are recognized as a potential threat to public health. The growth of an unregulated global drugs market risks increasing the spread of counterfeit medicines which are often delivered to consumers without a medical prescription. The aim of the study was to assess the strategies of argumentation that OPs adopt in their…


Shepherd, MD*. Black medicine. AQ. 2010 Summer; 4(3):82-5.

The exploring Internet trade in counterfeit medicine.

When you’re sick, taking the right medicine is almost as important as finding a good doctor. But what if the medicine is fake? A black market in counterfeit or low-quality drugs is fast becoming the world’s newest health hazard.


Ghodse H. Watching Internet Pharmacies. Br J Psychiatry. 2010;196:169-170.

The number of illegal internet pharmacies selling prescription-only medicines without a prescription is increasing. Large quantities of drugs are dispensed, making drugs of abuse readily available, and further risks are posed by counterfeit medication. Urgent national and international action is required to stop further proliferation of illegal pharmacies. Watching Internet Pharmacies


Trefi S, Routaboul C, Hamieh S, Gilard V, Malet-Martino M, Martino R. Analysis of illegally manufactured formulations of tadalafil (Cialis®) by 1H NMR, 2D DOSY 1H NMR and Raman spectroscopy. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2008 May 12;47(1):103-113

Abstract. Counterfeit and/or imitation medicines are becoming a major health problem not only in developing countries but also in wealthier countries. The need of new and easy analytical methods for quality control of drugs is essential. We describe the use of Raman spectroscopy, 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and 2D diffusion-ordered spectroscopy (DOSY) NMR to analyse…

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